Small Backyard Garden Ideas – 9 Ways To Transform Your Space

Lady watering plants

Lets face it.

Even though most people would love to have a large backyard, this isn’t always possible.

But what you can do is make the most of whatever space you have. Here we outline 9 amazing small backyard garden ideas to help you do just that.

Now it goes without saying:

A small backyard will obviously be a huge limitation if you happen to have extravagant gardening and outdoor décor plans.

You probably won’t have enough space to fit a large pool or a lavish lawn, but this doesn’t mean that your situation is totally hopeless.

With some ingenious planning, you can create room for a surprising amount of stuff in your small backyard.

Here are some creative ideas to make your small backyard stand out.

#1 Layer Your Plants

Finding a way to grow several plants in a small garden without making it look crowded can be a challenge.

A simple solution to this problem involves layering your plants according to size, starting from the shortest ones to the tallest. To achieve the best results, the shortest plants should occupy the area closest to the entrance and the tallest along the boundaries.

The result?

This will not only enable you to grow several plants of varying size in an orderly fashion, it will also create a visual illusion of depth that will make your backyard look bigger.

If you want a quick overview of some design ideas for small gardens check out the video below:

#2 Distract People – Vertically!

Vertical elements can be used to hide the true size of a small backyard. Such elements can add an extra dimension to your garden, making it look larger.

So how can you do this I hear you ask?

Simply by growing tall plants or trees along the boundaries of your garden, or building a trellis.

Climbing plants can also be used to adorn boundary walls or any free-standing structure such as trellises.

#3 Lawn? You Don’t Need A Lawn!

Having a backyard lawn is a common priority for most homeowners. If you have a small backyard however, a lawn might not be a good idea.

Simple truth is:

Lawns tend to look better on large open spaces. A lawn on a small backyard will only look dull and lifeless.

Furthermore, a lawn will provide an open sweeping view of your backyard which will be a constant reminder of just how tiny your backyard is.

There are several other things you can do with your small backyard to that will make it look more interesting besides having a lawn.

Above all:

Don’t be afraid to explore your creative side!

#4 Garden In Containers

Growing your plants in containers is another creative technique to help you fully utilize your limited space. You will be able to grow several different plants and still maintain a tidy look.

In addition to this, container plants can easily be moved around anytime you wish to re-organize your garden.

It is worth remembering:

When shopping for gardening containers, avoid going for several widely-contrasting colors. You will achieve a more harmonious look if you choose matching colors or stick to a uniform theme.

Lady with pot plants

#5 Scale Down On Outdoor Furniture

Unfortunately, having a small garden will greatly limit your options when it comes to outdoor furniture. Most garden furniture items have been designed to suit large open spaces.

This is why you need to be very selective when purchasing furniture for your small backyard. Try to go for minimalist furniture with basic features.

So what’s the answer?

Well things like backless benches or slim bistro chairs are an excellent choice since they occupy less space and blend easily with the surroundings.

Alternatively, you can modify some of the architectural elements around your garden such as retaining walls and elevated platforms to double up as seating areas. This is a creative way to incorporate the seating areas into the surrounding.

#6 Dazzle People With Color

Vivid colors can be used to draw attention onto a specific spot. When this happens, everything else occupying our field of view appears to be drawn out.

Now hear me out here as:

This optical illusion can be used to make your backyard appear bigger than it actually is. You can achieve this by placing brightly colored plants, furniture or lawn ornaments right next to the entrance to your backyard. Colors such as red, orange and yellow will produce the best results.

It is however important that you avoid going overboard when using bright colors. Do not include more than three bright colors in your theme. Using too many colors can overwhelm the visual senses.

Red roses blooking

#7 Create Multiple Levels

Thanks to our complex senses, humans can visually comprehend how big or small an area is with considerable accuracy, as long as the area is flat.

By contrast:

This becomes much harder to do when the area has several contours and levels in its profile. Multiple levels can fool our senses into thinking that an area is larger than it actually is.

You can use this simple visual trick to your advantage by incorporating elevated and sunken areas in your backyard.

For example, you can construct platforms of varying height to act as raised garden areas.

#8 Keep Things Simple

You will have to come to terms with the fact that your backyard is simply too small to accommodate everything you wish to have.

It is therefore important to keep your priorities straight and go for what you value the most. This can be a flower or vegetable garden, a backyard barbecue, a playground or a recreational area. Trying to fit too many things in a small backyard will only create a spectacular mess.


If you are having a hard time coming up with a workable plan for your backyard, you can consult a landscaping expert to help you through the process.

#9 Create A Smooth Visual Flow

Blurring the boundaries within your backyard can be an effective technique to mask its true size. You can do this by matching the materials used for landscaping with those used on your walls.

For example, if your terraces and walls have been made using bricks, you can use the same type of brickwork to construct your walkways and other elements of your backyard.

This will integrate your backyard to the surrounding architecture.

It sounds simple, but it works!

So there we go – 9 simple ideas that can transform a small backyard! I hope these can make a difference for you.


Want to learn more about making the most of a small garden? You can find further information here:

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